Required Reading: December

I didn’t do a Required Reading post/challenge last November on purpose because I was too busy with NaNoWriMo to really stress over what I wanted to read for November. I guess I wasn’t able to explain that — so apologies to those who were looking for one!

Anyway, so let’s so a little recap for October first before anything else, yes?

  • Breathe by Cliff McNish – I finished this early, actually, although I wasn’t able to review it until late. Anyway, I liked it, and I admit to being a bit scared with this for a while. It was an interesting experience with a McNish book. I’m not sure if I will read more, but I’m open to it.
  • The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey – Oh this book. This totally gave me the creeps while I was reading it (but that may be because I was reading this while I was in a rural area), but this is probably one of the best books I read this year. I loved it so much that I ended up reading its sequel soon after and I loved it even more. :)

There’s a certain thrill with scaring myself in a month, but I don’t think I’m up to doing it every month. :D Still, it was kind of fun.

Now onto December!

Required Reading - December

So since December means it’s the end of the year, I thought I’d use this month to catch up on my challenges. I just checked the status of my challenges and I seem to be failing miserably on some of them. So now, even in the midst of all the busyness of the holiday season, I’m going to try and catch up. So now I declare the last Required Reading for the year 2011 as Challenge Accepted. :D

I have been wanting to use a meme image for a long time now. :D

(This technically breaks the rule for this challenge because I’m supposed to not include books that are not included in other challenges…but like I said, I can bend the rules a little. So there :P)

  • Angelica’s Daughters by Various Authors – for my Filipino books reading challenge
  • The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett – for my classics challenge
  • Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster – for my classics challenge
  • Rage by Jackie Morse Kessler – for my TwentyEleven challenge
  • A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner – another for my Twenty Eleven Challenge

I should also probably finish Come Be My Light by Brian Kolodiejchuk and Mother Teresa, because it’s been on my currently reading list since this March.

Should be fun! I hope I can actually live up to the challenge! December’s upon us, ahoy! Time for some best-of lists soon, yes? :)

One More Page 2011 Half-Year Report

I should have written this one earlier, but of course, where is my time? Anyway, I will take a break from all my reviews to make room for the One More Page 2011 Half-Year Report!

So in the first six months of 2011, here are my statistics (as of June 30, 2011):

  • Total books read: 65
  • Total pages read: 17,521
  • Total print books: 33
  • Total ebooks: 32
  • Written by male authors: 17
  • Written by female authors: 50

5 stars
– 13 | 4 stars – 28 | 3 stars – 16 | 2 stars – 7 | 1 star – 1

2011 Challenge Status:

  • 1 of 5 classics
  • 10 of 20 for TwentyEleven
  • 6 of 20 for Filipino Books
  • 15 books for Required Reading

Favorite reads so far:
(Click on the thumbnail to go to the review):

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper FfordeNever Let Me Go by Kazuo IshiguroSaving Francesca by Melina MarchettaJellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Deadline by Mira GrantThe King of Attolia by Megan Whalen TurnerUnearthly by Cynthia HandThe Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan

I’m pretty sure I have better stats this year than last year. I had a very bad slump around April last year that stopped me from blogging and reading a lot, but this year, I’ve managed to escape the few slumps that threatened to get me. I am still doing a bit poorly with the classics and I’m lagging behind with the Filipino books, but I think I’ve read a lot more good books this time around than I did last year.

On the book-buying front…I’m proud to say that I’ve learned to curb some of my book buying. While it involves mainly avoiding bookstores altogether, I find that I’m choosier with books that I want to read. I think it’s because I’ve filtered what I really like and am interested in, as opposed to just buying and buying like I did last year.

Other notable things this year:

Plans for the rest of the year?

  • Read at least 2 more classic books. I will just keep on trying. I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to get to my original goal of 10, but I may still be able to reach the 5. Let’s see. :)
  • Think of other feature posts. I can’t just keep on reviewing. Discussion posts are fun, but maybe I also should try doing blogger and author features, just for fun. And of course, giveaways. :)
  • Join other blogger activities. Armchair BEA was so much fun that I’m pretty sure I want to join another one. Book Blogger Appreciation Week is coming up soon, right?
  • Network, network, network. One of my goals last Armchair BEA was to quit lurking, and I think I’ve managed to get out of that…I think. But I think I still need to interact more, leave comments, say hi on Twitter and all that stuff. Just like how I like receiving comments, I shouldn’t be selfish in giving them, too.

2011 has been good for reading so far. How’s yours been? :)

Filipino Friday: Goals and Resolutions

Filipino FridayI meant to host Filipino Friday last week, but all the hoopla and celebrations for the turn of the year caught up with me and I totally forgot about it. Ooops. Sorry Chachic!

But anyway, here I am! To those unfamiliar, Filipino Friday is a weekly (or sort of weekly) discussion among Filipino Book Bloggers about anything book or book blogging related. I’d like to start off this year’s discussion with something that I am sure everyone did or is still doing now that the new year is upon us: reading goals and resolutions.

I’m fond of setting goals and resolutions, because I believe in the power of setting one. That’s one of the big reasons why I love the new year because it allows people to start with a blank slate and leave whatever they don’t want to bring into the new year from the past there. I am also slightly nuts about setting challenges for myself, so I am always open to joining challenges that I like, or even some challenges that I am not sure I like them just so I can try to go outside of my comfort zone. So here’s this week’s question: what are your 2011 goals and resolutions as a reader and (Filipino) book blogger? Do you plan to read more books from last year, or do you plan to concentrate on a certain genre only? Do you want to up your stats, your comments or network more? Are you joining reading challenges or are you winging it? Do you plan to buy more books or less? Do you have a reading order ready for the books you will read for January, or even in the next months or the whole year?

I’ve already posted about joining the TwentyEleven challenge, which I hope helps me try new books and genres that I haven’t read before. I’ve also decided not to put a number on the books I plan to read this year after I’ve reached 100 last year — although I wouldn’t mind reading more than the number of books I read last year. I have set other goals for myself, though:

  • Read 5 classics – I’ve been setting a 10 book goal in a year, but I know that I will never reach that number because I read classics too slow. I read 3 last year (5 if you count the C.S. Lewis books, which I am not sure are classics), so this year, I’m aiming for a lower number from 10, but higher from the total I read last year. :)
  • Read at least 20 books by Filipinos – I really enjoyed Project 20:10 last year, and even if I didn’t reach the target 20 books, I’m happy that I tried. I have discovered many good Filipino fiction last year because of that challenge. I want to do that again this year.

As for resolutions? I haven’t set a final list, but here’s what I have from the top of my head:

  • I will embrace my Mt. TBR. No more stressing over the number of books I have or will have. Sure, I still think I have too many, but I will not stress over it anymore. I figure, as long as I can read and love reading, I will not stop getting books, so why fight it?
  • However, I will avoid impulse buys. I am very bad at impulse buys. Book buying is my kind of retail therapy, so whenever I am sad or angry or emotional, I tend to get more books. :P I will try to stop doing that…by doing what, I am not sure yet. But I will avoid impulse buys as much as possible.
  • I will allow myself not to finish books. Best example is the book I posted about yesterday. However, I will only probably do this for review copies, if I really cannot stand it anymore. I will still attempt to finish the books I bought with my own money, no matter how much I end up disliking it. I have very high tolerance, anyway. :P And while review copies are nice (and free), I will not force myself to love the book or finish it if I have lost interest.
  • I will keep on writing honest reviews and find ways to improve my reviewing. I know I tend to ramble on my reviews, so this year I’m going to work on that. :P
  • I will clean out my shelves twice this year. No, not dusting or re-arranging (although I would do that), but I will weed out books that I know will find better homes somewhere. If I know I won’t re-read it anymore, then I can give them to someone who will love it more than I do.
  • I will attend more bookish events this year. I think this is self-explanatory? :)

So what about you? What are your reading/blogging goals and resolutions this 2011? I know some of you have already posted your goals and challenges in your blogs, so feel free to leave a link for them below and I can do a round up here, too. :)

I’m sure most of us agree that 2010 has been a good year for us Filipino Book Bloggers, so here’s to hoping 2011 will be an even better year. :) *cheers*

TwentyEleven Challenge

I apologize for the lack of posts here lately. I haven’t been too busy with work since the new year came, but I have been busy meeting up with friends and finding quiet times to read hence the silence. I’ve only read one book in 2011 so far, and ever since I decided not to set a number of books that I need to read this year, I think I have gone easy on myself.

But a reading year won’t be that fun if we don’t join any reading challenges, right? So here’s my first reading challenge for 2011, and it’s the one I’ve been thinking of joining since 2010.

One of my goals in 2011 is to explore other genres and not just stick to the ones I’ve been reading lately. I’ve learned that variety is always good in reading as it stops you from having the (dreaded?) slump, and it gives you more chances to discover things you like or don’t like in literature. Darren‘s TwentyEleven challenge seemed like one of those challenges that would help me do just that, and so it is the first challenge I’m joining for 2011. :)

There are eleven categories in the challenge, and each participant should read a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 2 books in each category, to reach the 20 books in the challenge. Each book can only be counted for one category, and it must be read from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011. The book read can be also counted for another challenge, so it doesn’t have to be exclusive for this challenge.

Here are the categories, and the books I know from my TBR that could possibly fit the category:

  1. To YA or not YA…
    Okay, this one works like this… Tend to read more Young Adult than Adult Fiction books then read one or two adult fiction titles, vice-versa if you don’t tend to read much Young Adult.

    • Havah: The Story of Eve by Tosca Lee
    • On the Edge by Ilona Andrews
  2. …With a Twist.
    This one focuses on sub-genres, read a lot of chick-lit, then try a paranormal romance! Fantasy? Why not give some Steampunk a go, like a bit of Space-Opera in your Sci-Fi then pick up a military Sci-fi book. Like your Contemporary Literature, give a Young Adult Contemporary a chance. Well hopefully you get the idea!

    • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (SciFi)
    • Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières (Historical)
  3. Hot off the Presses.
    Read a book published (in your country) in 2011? Then it counts for this category.

    • Blue Angel, White Shadow by Charlson Ong
    • TBD
  4. It Wasn’t Me! (aka Bad Bloggers*)
    Books in this category, should be ones you’ve picked up purely on the recommendation of another blogger count for this category (any reviews you post should also link to the post that convinced you give the book ago).
    * Bad Bloggers: Is hosted by Chris of Stuff as Dreams are Made on.

    • Howl’s Moving Castle by Dianna Wynne Jones (recommended by Chachic)
    • Dust City by Robert Paul Weston (reviewed by Chelle)
  5. Show it Who is Boss!
    Tackle that overflowing T.B.R. pile! Books for this category must be already residents of your bookshelves as of 1/12/10.

    • The Scarlet Thread by Francine Rivers (bought in January 2007 :o)
    • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis (bought in 2008)
  6. Bablefish.
    Read books that are translated from a language that is not your own.

    • TBD. Any suggestions? :)
  7. Will-Power? What Will-Power? (aka: The Henry Ward Beecher Memorial.)
    You know that quote I have in my blog-header… “Where is human nature so weak as in a bookstore?” Recognise yourself in it? Then this is the one for you! Bought a book NEW during 2011? Then it counts for this category. Second-hand books do not count for this one, but, for those on book-buying bans, books bought for you as gifts or won in a giveaway also count.

    • Haven’t bought anything in 2011…yet! Wait for this one. :P
    • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (bought January 9, 2011)
    • Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta (bought January 10, 2011)
  8. Mind the Gap.
    Need just one more book to compete that duology/trilogy/series then read it for this one! (Obviously as this is for that final book you need to complete it, then you can’t read two books from the same series! And it clearly can’t be your first or penultimate read!)
    Because not everyone reads a series in order, this is for the last book you need to read, not necessarily the last book in the series…

    • The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa
    • My Soul to Keep by Rachel Vincent
  9. Back in the Day.
    Re-read an old favourite or two for this category.

    • Will have to choose between a Sarah Dessen or a Jasper Fforde book, since I am planning to marathon their books as their new ones get released this year :)
  10. Way Back When.
    Read books that were published before you were born for this one, whether that be the day before or 100 years prior!

    • Emma by Jane Austen
    • Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll
  11. Slim-Pickings
    Got a novella you want to read? Then this one is the one for you! Any books between 90-150 pages count.

    • Rage by Jackie Morse Kessler
    • Reaper by Rachel Vincent

Of course, the books listed here can still change as the year goes on. Flexibility is the key to reading challenges, I figured.

Are you joining the TwentyEleven challenge? Or are you joining other challenges? Do share them so we can cheer each other on. :)

Hello 2011!

Image from


Well, it’s 2011 in my side of the world, and I know some of you are already there too, while others are still waiting for the clock to strike midnight. But whatever time you get to read this, I hope you are having a splendid 2011 so far.

Now that I am done with my 10 for 2010 lists (and believe me, it was very hard to make those lists – fun, but very hard!), I can rest from choosing among the many, many books I’ve read last year and now focus on…the math. I know, why am I starting my new year with math?! But this is fun math, anyway, and it doesn’t require much complicated stuff, only statistics. :)

So, presenting, my reading stats for 2010:

Total books read: 118
Total pages read: 32,973*
Total print books: 50
Total ebooks:
* Includes 558 pages from The Message Bible

Written by male authors: 29*
Written by female authors: 94*
* Books written by a male and a female author (Rachel Cohn & David Levithan, Ilona Andrews) count twice

Reviews written: 114

5 stars – 24
4 stars – 47
3 stars – 33
2 stars – 13
1 star – 1

2010 Challenges Status:
118 out of 100 books read
20 out of 20 fantasy books read (I stopped counting after 20)
3 out of 10 classic books read (6, if you count C.S. Lewis’ books — are they considered as classics already? No? Okay)

TBR Challenge: 2 out of 12
Project 20:10: 16 out of 20
YA-D2: 5 out of 5 (but not all in my initial list was read)

Okay, that is enough numbers, I think. Overall, it is a very good year in reading, despite not having finished all my challenges. I mean, 118 books is already so many books read, and I know I’m not stopping anytime soon.

I know I won’t be doing a quantity challenge again for the 2011, because I think I’ve already proven that I can read a lot. Plus in the end, it’s not really the numbers, anyway, but the quality of books read, right?

I am pretty sure I will try to top my 3 classic books this year and try to make it to 4 or 5. I will also keep on reading as many local fiction possible, not only because I’m Filipino, but because I believe in our literature, and I want to be one of the reasons why Filipinos will keep on writing. I will probably try a genre specific challenge, or at least something that will help me get out of my reading comfort zones.

Like what I said, 2010 has been a great year in reading, and I’m sure a lot of people agree. :) Here’s to a greater reading year in 2011. *cheers*

P.S. I finally moved all my blogs under one domain, so, plugging my personal blog – . Non-book related posts and other life stuff will be here. Do join me every now and then. :)

tinamats.comP.P.S. Anniversary giveaway is still ongoing up to January 9, so keep the comments coming. :)